Friday, May 27, 2005

Europe's Pragmatic Conservatives vs. North American Theocons

A few days ago, a fellow Republican and friend sent an email with a link from the BBC. The link was a profile on Angela Merkel the leader of the center-right Christian Democrats in Germany. If the calls for early elections holds, this 50-year old woman could be the first female German Chancellor. She's been called Germany's Margaret Thatcher because she like heads a conservative party. What's so interesting is that the leader of one of Europe's biggest conservative parties is in favor of legal rights for gay couples. She says she stands for family values, but don't expect her to be recieving any calls from Focus on the Family anytime soon. Here is what one of her fellow Christian Democats says:

"In former times, being married was important - now we talk of families being important, but not necessarily the marriage as an institution. Even in a gay relationship people take care of each other - that's a switch for a conservative party."

Even gay people take care of each other. Wow, you don't hear that much in conservative circles these days on this side of the Pond.

It gets better. The Christian Democrats ruling partner, the Free Democrats, is lead by a gay man. Not in the closet. Openly gay. The link to der Spiegel shows him and his attractive partner.

My friend also noted that even Britan's Conservative Party is tolerant of recognition of gay relationships.

Here in North America, we see that conservative parties are not as pragmatic on this issue as their European neighbors in regards to gays. You already know about the Republican Party, but it looks like Canada's Conservative Party is starting to take a page from the Republican playbook. The Globe and Mail reports that conservative Christian activists in the mold of Focus on the Family are winning party nominations in ridings (equivalent to our congressional districts) accross Canada. Some in the party are concerned. It should be known that the Party opposes same sex marriage at a time when Canada is on it's way to approving them.

I don't know why conservative parties in North America are so against gay marriage while those in Europe are not. I think a lot of it has to do with the role religion plays-Europe is more secular than North America and the also the religion that has strength in our side of the world is more exclusive and rigid.

All in all, it shows that homophobia and conservatism don't necessarily go hand in hand.


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